Criticising the Centre's decision to approve the creation of a National Population Register (NPR), AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday (December 24) linked the NPR with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), stressing that NPR is the first step towards NRC.
"They are doing NPR according to the Citizenship Act, 1955, then is it not connected to NRC? Why is the Home Minister misleading the country? He took my name in Parliament and said `Owaisi ji NRC will be implemented across the country`. Amit Shah sahab, as long as the sun keeps rising from the east, we will keep telling the truth. NPR is the first step towards NRC. When NPR will be done in April 2020, officials will ask for documents... The final list will be NRC," Owaisi told ANI.
Earlier on Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that there is no link between NPR and NRC, accusing Owaisi and other opposition leaders of trying to mislead the people.
In a scathing attack on Hyderabad MP, the Union Home Minister had said: "I am not surprised by the stand taken by Owaisi ji. If we say the sun rises from the east, then Owaisi sahab would say it rises from the west. But I want to assure Owaisi ji too that the NPR is very different from the NRC and it has nothing to do with it."
Shah made the statements hours after the Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the expenditure of Rs 3,941.35 crore for NPR and Rs 8,754.23 crore for the Census of India 2021.
Owaisi, however, argued that the Ministry of Home Affairs had said it several times that the NPR was the first step towards the creation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). He added that the same thing was said by MHA in its annual report 2018-19. "I agree that Amit Shah is more educated than me. He should read chapter 15 of the annual report of 2018-19 of his ministry. In point number 4, he himself is saying that NPR is the first step towards the creation of NRIC under the provisions of aforesaid statues...," Owaisi told ANI.
"On MHA website, the ministry wrote on NPR that India is in the process of setting up NPR. This is the first step towards the creation of NRC. November 26, 2014, when Kiren Rijiju was minister, in a reply, he said NPR is the register of all usual residents which includes citizens and non-citizens as well. In another reply, he said NPR is the first step towards the creation of NRIC," he said.
For his part, Shah had said that NPR was a continuation of a move started by the former UPA government. "It is a constitutional provision and is the same exercise which was conducted by the Congress-led government earlier. It is neither a part of our manifesto nor our promise. It was a good move started by the Congress which is simply being followed," he said.